Headlines such as Times Higher Education’s “Ucas stats reveal languages decline” have become an annual ritual in recent years. Group R (European Langs, Lit & related) down from 22,486 to 21,248 applicants ( -1,238 -5.5%). Group T (Non-European Langs, Lit and related ) went from 6,678 students in 2012 to 6,241 in 2013 (-437 -6.5%).
I was struck by the vast increase (28.7%) in the number of applicants classified in Z. General, other, combined and unknown. In fact 297,071 students (11.9%) are classified either in a Y category (Combined arts, combined sciences, combined social sciences, sciences combined with social sciences, sciences combined with social sciences or arts, social sciences combined with arts) or in category Z. Given the high proportion of language students who are doing combined/ joint degrees I suspect (but can’t prove) increasing number of linguists are finding their way in categories Y and Z.